Published on: September 28, 2010
Responding to the spate of stories recently about supermarkets being located in regional malls, MNB user Geoff Harper wrote:Grocery stores in malls died in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Why? Because the mall customer is buying non-perishable items and is not going home in the next hour. With Whole Foods and Aldi now going to malls, I’d be interested to know where they are located in the mall and what plans the mall owners have to (as you say) change the mall into an attractive shopping experience. If that can happen, then the mall idea may make sense. If not, the stores will not last long.
MNB user Louis A. Scudere wrote:What’s old is new again. Supermarkets tried to co-locate in/with malls in the early/mid eighties with limited success and tended to move away from such strategies as it was realized that while a good supermarket location would always be a good mall/general merchandise location, it was not a two way street. However, having said that, the three formats that exist right now that could, possibly, benefit from such a strategy would IMHO be high end such as Whole Foods, mid scale limited assortment, such as Aldi’s, and upscale limited assortment such as Trader Joe’s.
I am familiar with the Whole Foods location in the “Streets of Woodfield” section of the Woodfield Mall shopping complex in suburban Chicago. It is in a very high traffic location, too much in my opinion, thus I suspect that ingress/egress is very much a challenge at this location. The fact that Mariano’s Fresh Market opened about 3 miles to the northwest has probably not helped their situation appreciably. Therein lies the problem with mall co-location. While mall locations offer a draw of regional nature, the fact of the matter is that grocery shopping still teds to be governed by convenience, thus, in an all things being equal situation (ala Whole Foods and Mariano’s, to the Whole Foods folks I am not saying they are equal, but I will say that Mariano’s offers a very viable alternative, with similar product offerings, and feel, in their power aisle) the more convenient location will win out. A variation on this theme is Aldi’s, strategy of placing locations within ½ mile of Wal-Mart supercenters. This has appeared to have some level of success, at least in the Southeastern US. The other issue typically with mall real estate is that it tends to be very expensive relative to alternative supermarket locations, therefore driving a unit’s breakeven point higher and leaving it vulnerable to competitive moves on its periphery.
Given, all of the above, coupled with the basic fact that (while this old saw has eroded somewhat in the past 30 years it is still true) the majority of the consuming public does not like to by their pants and their peas in the same place, while the so-called nascent trend is interesting, I wouldn’t be holding my breath looking for a new supermarket to pop up at the local mall any time soon.
MNB user Steve Paris wrote:This is common in other parts of the world, especially in developing markets where large scale “modern” shopping outlets tend to be grouped as a destination. There is no reason why this can’t work in the U.S., and in fact, might give traditional grocers with a strong identity and proposition a chance to compete even more effectively with the Targets & Wal-Marts of the world by offering a different type of “one-stop” shop. Sadly, though for those chains stuck in the middle strategically (we all know who they are), it will not help them long term and might even be a distraction from recognizing what they need to do to fix their businesses.
On another subject, this from an MNB user:Below is the summary you shared of how the OECD thinks we can decrease childhood obesity.
“Among the OECD recommendations for how to deal with this crisis - and the report makes no bones about the fact that this is a crisis, both from an economic and health care point of view - is the use of ‘health-promotion campaigns, compulsory food labeling and a serious commitment from the food industry to stop advertising unhealthy foods to kids.’
Sorry, but, in my opinion, this is just pathetic reasoning. I grew up in the era (mid-50’s) when child-oriented food advertising on TV was all junk food. And proud of it. Sugar Corn Pops are tops. Sugar Jets (how many parents had to nail the 2nd floor screens shut so children wouldn’t attempt to fly out the windows). M&M’s jumping in the “swimming pool” to come out all candy coated. I think, next to sugar-coated cereals, candy bars were the most advertised foods for children on TV.
Were any of us obese? Not by a long shot. It was all our parents could do to keep us at the breakfast table long enough to swish down the sugar laden cereal. There were at least 5-6 kids already on your back porch waiting impatiently for you to come out and play. Once you were outside, you would move to the next house until we had everyone rounded up. Then, it was one physical activity after another. Red rover. All day tag. Kick ball. Riding bikes. Jumping rope. Jumping off garage roof tops. Climbing trees. Roller skating on bumpy sidewalks w/the skates that fit on your shoes w/the skate key that you wore around your neck. Cowboys and Indians (in addition to the skate key, no self-respecting kid, girl or boy, was w/o their handy, cap-loaded, six-shooter in holster). Rainy days were pure hell if your parents wouldn’t let you play outside in the rain.
Even after dark, we would congregate under streetlights for 30 scatter or kick the can. We all had numerous cuts/bruises on our shins from all the things we would trip/fall over in the dark while running around. And then onto catching lightening bugs in the empty peanut butter jar.
In the winter, we would sled ride until our clothes were soaked rather than go back in the house. There was a crick at the bottom of the hill; only if your sled carried you into the crick would you consider going inside. Every yard had an igloo and a snowman. Some had forts for the snowball fights.
We all walked to school and back, including lunch time, since our schools didn’t have cafeterias. For me, that was 4 miles daily at age 6. Outdoor recess was a daily given. How could any of us be obese? In retrospect, if we hadn’t consumed all that sugar, we would probably have collapsed from lack of enough calories to get us through the day. Compare that to today’s children’s daily “activities”, and I use the word loosely.
So, as I read their conclusion stated above, it almost, again in my opinion, defies logic that this is what they conclude are the weapons to fight childhood obesity.
All of your comments are right on the money, except for one thing.
We don’t live in the 50s anymore. Those rules don’t apply.
It is a fantasy to think that we live in an age when kids will walk long distances to school and play outside at night. Not in an age of Amber Alerts.
Is it a shame? Of course. But it also is reality. And I think as much as we’d like to see a return to some of the values and behaviors of 50 years ago, it is delusional to think it can happen, and that this will somehow solve the obesity crisis. (Besides, not everything about the 50s was all that great. Hindsight can be a little misty-eyed.)
Do our kids need to get more exercise and spend less time in front of various electronic boxes? Sure. But that doesn’t mean that “health-promotion campaigns, compulsory food labeling and a serious commitment from the food industry to stop advertising unhealthy foods to kids” are all bad ideas.
We have to deal with reality here. 2010 reality.
Got this nice note from MNB user Alison Kenney Paul regarding yesterday’s Eye-Opener about Ted Williams and the tissue-thin difference between being good and great:As a keen observer of all things consumer, I couldn’t agree with you more….Ted Williams surprised and delighted fans with his easy athleticism and desire to win. John Updike did the same by choosing just the right words to convey an event, a nuance, a feeling.
We have that opportunity every day—to communicate and inspire, connect and delight….thanks for the reminder!
And MNB user Steven Ritchey wrote:The year Ted Williams hit over .400 for the season, he was in a bit of a slump at the end of the season. The last day of the season was a double header, his manager offered to let him sit as his average was right at .400 and a bad day at the plate would mean he wouldn’t hit his milestone .400 average for the season. To Williams credit he said, &*%$^ no, he played both games collected a few hits and raised his average a few points. My dad (who was a disappointed semipro baseball player) told me several stories over the years about Ted Williams, I don’t know if they are true or not, but he was a fascinating ball player.
Character is always a critical factor in success.
Another MNB user wrote:One point you missed, is Ted Williams was not appreciated to the extent that he should have been. The year he hit 4.06 he was not named MVP. Truly it could be said that as a hitter he may have been the best ever.
It's the same in business. Many of the very best employees are not recognized because they don't patronize the boss. They just go about doing their jobs, making the company a success. It is our job as leaders to recognize them, and surround them with great teammates.
Finally, on the subject of whether I am too nice and write too much about Walmart, I got this email from an MNB user:Interesting reading the viewer's position on unsubscribing due to your handling of Wal-Mart as a topic. I had half drafted a note to you that day and dropped the matter. The gist of my note was how telling your infatuation with Wal-Mart was. You have increasingly waved their banner just layered with gushing praise. If one did not know better, one would think they had paid for a novel and unorthodox advertising program or, more likely, being sweet on them has clouded your journalistic judgement.
In any event, I would probably be in the camp that considers that not very good form for the venue you have here. While I would not go so far as to unsubscribe, your commentaries on this topic, I would say, are getting a bit caustic to your own program. After reading about your disenchanted reader, I thought I would mention my similar reaction to your handling of the Walmart topic (though your site is not seen either as a tool for "fighting" Walmart. Just realize the Walmart love affair has gotten more pronounced to others and it can rankle on many levels...). I wonder, like consumer complaints that get written, how many more pass quietly unvoiced.
For the record, best I can remember, I have posted every email critical about how I have handled Walmart.
I try to post every email that criticizes me, or at least all the ones that are coherent.
I honestly cannot figure out how to handle the Walmart situation better. I criticize them when I think they make a mistake, and I praise them when I think they do the right thing. And I try to report on what the company does when it makes news. I thought - and continue to think - that I’ve been fair.
One thing is for sure. Walmart has never paid me so much as a penny for “a novel and unorthodox advertising program.” Frankly, I have no idea if the folks in Bentonville care what I think or write.
But I’ll pay attention, and keep trying to do my best.